Democrats pick up Senate seat in Nevada with Rosen win

Rosen unseats Republican Sen. Dean Heller

By DAN MERICA, CNN
Copyright 2018 CNN

(CNN) - Rep. Jacky Rosen will win her bid to unseat Republican Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada, CNN can project, delivering a key Senate pick up for Democrats.

Heller's campaign was defined by his awkward dance with President Donald Trump, someone that the senator flip-flopped on throughout the President's first two years in office. After saying he was "99 percent" against Trump, Heller fully embraced him during his campaign for re-election.

"Now, Mr. President, you know a little bit about gold," Heller said during an October rally with the President. "In fact, I think everything you touch turns to gold."

Rosen tapped into Nevada's leftward tilt in recent years in her effort to oust the vulnerable Republican. Democrats have won the last three presidential elections in Nevada.

Rosen focused primarily on health care and other local issues, but also tried to tie her opponent to Trump.

During a recent debate, Rosen labeled Heller a "rubber stamp" for the President and mocked him for his back and forth on Trump.

When the moderator followed up on the fact he vacillated on the President, Heller sought to argue he did so because of Trump's success.

"I'll be the first to tell you I don't agree with everything he says, but I do agree with most of what he does. He has been incredible on this economy. He's done a great job," Heller said.

Rosen, despite her challenger status, was able to outraise Heller during the race, bringing in over $16 million -- including an impressive $7 million in the third quarter of 2018 -- compared to Heller's $12 million haul.

Trump came to Heller's defense during the campaign, labeling his opponent "Wacky Jacky" and rallying with the Republican in Elko.

"I'm thrilled to introduce a man that I spent a long time getting to know. At first, I fought him. I said, 'This guy's tough. What's the story here," Trump said acknowledging their rocky relationship. "There's no better partner that I had in Washington than Dean Heller."

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